Ammunition, often referred to as ammo, is a generic term meaning (the assembly of) a projectile and its propellant. It is derived through French from the Latin munire (to provide).
The design of the ammunition is determined by its purpose; anti-personnel ammunition is often designed to break up or tumble inside the target, in order to maximize the damage done. Anti-personnel shells contain shrapnel and are designed to explode in mid-air, so its fragments will spread over a large area. Armor-piercing ammunition tends to be hard, sharp, and narrow, often with lubrication. Incendiary projectiles include a material such as white phosphorus which burns fiercely. Tracer ammunition emits light as it travels, allowing the gunner to see the path of bullets in flight while using a machine gun.
Popular types of military rifle and machine-gun ammunition include the 5.45 mm, 5.56 mm, and 7.62 mm.
Ammunition, particularly that of small arms, is specified by an extremely wide range of designations derived from metric and English measurements, commercial firm`s private systems, and the different requirements of armies of different countries. German firms in the late twentieth century have decided to make "all-metric" ammunition, a refinement of existing designs.
Match-grade ammunition is of exceptional quality and consistency, intended for target-shooting competition.
The components of ammunition intended for rifles and munitions may be divided into these categories:
explosives and propellants
projectiles of all kinds